Stockdale turns back the clock with 'Oldies' dance series
The past will meet the present when another in a series of successful “All Oldies, Only Oldies” dances (record hops) is presented April 6 at the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department's social center and banquet hall.
“We are very pleased to resume these dances,” Al Marcy, assistant fire chief and entertainment chairman of the Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department, said. “Judging from the inquiries we've been getting, anticipation for this dance has been growing at a steady pace. This one will mark the start of our sixth year of the current series of hops and will perpetuate the legacy of the dances that started in 1957. It will be a great way to welcome spring.”
The Stockdale dance, which has become one of the largest and most popular of its kind in Western Pennsylvania in recent years, will run from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Ralph Trilli, longtime area disc jockey and co-host with Bill Chappo of the Cruisin' Sunday show on WJPA (95.3 FM, 1450 AM, noon to 6 p.m.), will spin the oldies. Trilli was a longtime associate of the late Jim “J.D. the D.J.” Dudas and hosted a memorial tribute to Dudas in October 2011. Some 550 people attended the event to honor the memory and achievements of Dudas, who was the DJ at Stockdale for several years.
“Ralph has a great ear for and knowledge of the music that oldies aficionados request and appreciate,” Marcy said. “He worked with Jim for many years and is helping perpetuate the Mon Valley Memories music with the show on WJPA.”
The April 6 event, which is open to the public, again will carry a BYOE (bring your own everything) format. Patrons are invited to bring their own food and drinks. The fire department will provide some refreshments (not pop).
Admission is $10 per person and reservations and additional information are available at 724-330-5002.
Checks are payable to Stockdale Volunteer Fire Department and should be sent, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope, to Dance, P.O. Box 416, Roscoe, PA 15477.
Those ordering tickets are requested to include their name, address, telephone number and email address.
Marcy said the past/present link is symbolized in many ways at Stockdale.
“Many of the people who come to our dances and similar oldies events in the area attended the original Stockdale record hops,” he said. “They return to rekindle fond, old memories and to create new ones. Mere words really can't express our gratitude to them for their continuing support.”
Complementing the then-and-now atmosphere at the April 6 dance will be the presence of Ron Paglia as guest host. Paglia was the disc jockey at the original hops from Dec. 21, 1957, through August 1964.
“Ron played an important role in the success of those dances more than 50 years ago,” Marcy said. “We are grateful to him for his efforts in recent years and look forward to him being with us on April 6.”
The original dances were among the biggest in Western Pennsylvania in the 1950s and early '60s. Crowds of 1,000 or more teenagers were the rule during the hey day of those events, which featured many of the top recording artists of that era on the Stockdale stage.
A belated 50th anniversary dance was held Feb. 16, 2008, at Stockdale and drew more than 1,100 people (nearly twice the population of the town), some coming from as far away as California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Texas and Canada.
Attendance has been limited to 600 since that event and capacity crowds have attended the ensuing dances.
“Stockdale has been blessed with some outstanding disc jockeys ever since the inception of the original record hops in 1957,” Marcy said. “Terry Lee, Ron Paglia, Jim Dudas and John Barbero have hosted some of the biggest dances ever in the Pittsburgh region, and Porky Chedwick has been with us on several occasions as a special guest. The thousands of people who have come to Stockdale over the years feel the same way.”